ESPN’s Jemele Hill returned to her hosting duties Monday night, two weeks after the network suspended her over political social media posts it says violated company policy.
She briefly addressed her absence at the start of her 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” show.
“I love you,” Hill told co-host Michael Smith. “You’re my brother. Thank you for holding this down while I was gone.”
Earlier on Monday, she tweeted thanks to her fans for their support.
ESPN announced Hill’s two-week suspension on Oct. 9 after she spoke out against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who threatened to bench players who protest police brutality by not standing during the national anthem.
“Jerry Jones also has created a problem for his players, specifically the black ones. If they don’t kneel, some will see them as sellouts,” Hill tweeted the day prior.
She also suggested that fans who disagreed with Jones’ stance stop buying Cowboys merchandise and boycott companies who buy advertising space from the team.
Those posts constituted a “second violation” of ESPN’s social media policy, the network said in a statement announcing her suspension.
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Last month, Hill tweeted that President Donald Trump “is a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists” and called him “the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.”
Following Hill’s tweets about Trump, ESPN said her statements did not represent the network’s position and that it had addressed the issue with Hill.The suspension prompted backlash on social media, where many users defended Hill’s criticism of Jones and accused ESPN of prioritizing friendly relations with the NFL over standing by one of its journalists who called out racism in the sport.
But in a clip posted Saturday, Hill told TMZ Sports that she was on good terms with her employer and supported the network’s decision to suspend her.
“I deserved a suspension,” Hill said.
“I violated the policy. Going forward we’ll be in a good, healthy place,” she continued.